i can't tell you how much i love this guy. i also can't tell you how many times we have been to the vet since we've owned him. this equals a LOT of money as you all know. he has had this on again/off again limp for the past couple months that we've been prescribed duramaxx and rimadyl for (at separate times). and of course, we've had to keep him "unexercised" which is damn near impossible. these things have not worked.
after several attempts to have his limp taken care of through a regular vet, i took the little guy to an orthopedist today. the man felt around both of his front legs and determined he needs x-rays. the doctor said that he suspects it could be bone chips in both elbows, possibly from his bones growing too fast and not lining up right. we won't know until he gets the x-rays tomorrow, but does anybody here know if this is a mandatory surgical procedure or something that requires other means of care?
i'm not looking for a diagnosis or anything, because the more stuff that goes into my head the crazier i feel.
he is 11 months old and has led the life of a normal lab: swimming, running, playing, and chewing. he has a great diet, well behaved (for an 11 month old labbie) and gets more attention than tom brady. it is so disheartening, because his two front legs have been plaguing him and us for awhile now and it is eating the family alive...
we don't want to have to do any type of surgery for this guy. has anyone else experienced "bone chips in the elbows" before?
I think what you're talking about is a form of elbow dysplasia. We're dealing with it right now with my 4 year old female lab. Basically the bones in the elbow don't line up quite right and then rub against each other causing bone fragments to break off. We didn't realize she had a problem until she was around 3 years old. All of a sudden, she started limping and had some swelling. The x-rays confirmed ED. We had athroscopic surgery on both elbows last year to remove the fragments and shave down the bone. It helped in the short term but she's back to limping again and has swelling. They told us when we did surgery that it was more a treatment than a cure and something that she'll have to live with. We went through a series of Adequan injections (which shows great promise in some dogs), but it didn't work for our dog. She currently takes Rimadyl as needed. We're also looking into physical therapy which I've heard does wonders for some dogs. Swimming is great for them and we take our lab swimming alot. It's also critically important to keep the weight down. The first step is diagnosis and you'll have more options since your dog is younger - get the diagnosis done sooner rather than later. If your dog has ED, try to remember that it's not the end of the world. There's a lot of options available and more coming every day. I would definitely talk to your vet about the Adequan series and look into physical therapy. I live in Houston and they've started doing elbow replacements here now when ED gets serious enough. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. There is also another yahoogroups forum called orthodogs that has a lot of good stuff on it.
Surgery for FCP's (Fragmented Coronoid Processes- one form of "elbow dysplasia") also tends to be much more effective when done early than once arthritic changes have really started to set in. My girl Libby had surgery on both elbows when she was 6 months old...and she has done INCREDIBLY well the past couple of years. She will turn 3 on the 4th of July, and right now, she is on glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, and occasional Rimadyl for pain (mostly preventative, such as if we spend a day running around at the beach playing fetch), but other than that and keeping her weight as low as possible (to avoid that extra weight and impact on those joints), we haven't had to do much else. And now, with a much bulkier, pesky younger brother in the house, she definitely gets a lot of exercise.
Oh, by the way, I also train for obedience and rally with her. She's spayed, and has her first AKC leg toward her CD and one toward her RN (it takes 3 to earn those titles). So, her elbows haven't slowed her down much...though she required surgery right during a prime time (6 months of age) for socialization in her life, and thus, it took a while to calm her down around other dogs. I don't know how far we'll be able to go with obedience, since I don't want to do much jumping with her, but for now, we're having a lot of fun!
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
There's a good article on elbow dysplasia in the may/june issue of Just Labs by Ben Character DVM. Sorry to hear about your problems. I'd highly encourage you to call your breeder if you haven't already. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014